CLAREMORE, Okla. - The County Commission has approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional funding for the Rogers County Sheriff's Office.
The fund will be used to purchase 20 new patrol vehicles and hire three additional deputies.
"The paint is blowing off the hood. This is one of the lowest mile ones with 158,000," said Cpt. Jerry Smittle while surveying an old patrol car.
Smittle says some of the patrol vehicles have more than 200,000 miles. Over the past year, his department has replaced the transmission in six vehicles.
"The front ends are blowing out of them," Smittle said. "You can't have that kind of wear and tear on a patrol vehicle and not start expecting to have some major malfunctions."
The three new deputies are expected to help staffing levels at the jail and could eventually allow for one or two more deputies to be placed on patrol.
Sheriff Scott Walton calls the added funding a step in the right direction, but cautions that with only four deputies patrolling the 674 square miles of Rogers County at any given time, his department will still be short staffed.
"I can tell you that four [deputies] running Rogers County is not adequate, safe protection. We run this same type of staffing levels in our jail. We are absolutely bare bones," Walton said. "And all of this may sound like I'm not grateful for the additional request. But our request was not a bit excessive. And in a lot of areas, I think it should have been more. But I tried to be realistic and make a step forward."